For each of the last 10 seasons, at least one NFL team has gone from “Worst to First” in their respective division. In 2012, RGIII added the Washington Redskins to this list. Will the streak continue in 2013?
I think so, and here’s my AFC candidate to do so:
Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs
2012 Record: 2-14; 4th in AFC West
2013 Key Losses: Matt Cassel, Romeo Crennel
Key Additions in 2013: Andy Reid, Alex Smith, Eric Fisher, Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce, Tony Moeaki (return from injury)
Reasons to Like the Chiefs:
1) Overall Talent – not something you associate with many teams coming off a 2-14 season, but the Chiefs are different. Think about this, the Chiefs put 5 players in the Pro Bowl in 2012 (that’s 2.5 players per win) and then added two number 1 overall picks at the two most valuable offensive positions (QB-Alex Smith and LT-Eric Fischer-though he will start at RT).
2) Alex Smith – Rarely does a QB lose his job due to injury (except Drew Bledsoe), especially a former number 1 overall pick, but that is exactly what Smith had happen to him in 2012. Colin Kaepernick played well in Smith’s absence, but Smith’s play did not lose him the starting role in SF. Smith started 8 games before being knocked out of the lineup with a concussion. When Smith went down, SF was 6-2 and Smith led the NFL in completion percentage (70.2%), was 2nd in the NFL in Passer Rating (104.1), and had 13 TDs to only 5 picks. With the exception of picks and rushing TDs, Smith outplayed Kaepernick in every category. However, Kaepernick’s freakish athleticism is something Smith could not match, and the Chiefs were the beneficiaries of Smith being jettisoned by SF. In 2012, the Chiefs QBs accounted for 30 turnovers and just 8 TDs. Smith’s acquisition drastically improves the Chiefs offense and increases the value of Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe exponentially (and all of KC’s weapons for that matter).
3) O-Line – With Brandon Allen at LT and #1 overall pick Eric Fischer at RT, the Chiefs may have one of the best OL units in all of the NFL. The 40 sacks the Chiefs gave up in 2012 are deceiving and more the result of the poor QB play of Cassel and Quinn. The addition of an actual NFL QB (and Fischer) should greatly reduce these numbers.